GARDAÍ in the county have noted a sizable spike in the theft of catalytic converters from cars, with five stolen at different locations in one day alone.
Catalytic converters are a part on the exhaust system which helps reduce the pollutants in emissions. To have this item replaced costs in the region of €1,500 and gardaí are advising the public to take precautions where possible.
Speaking to The Clare Champion, Clare Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Joe Downey said, “There is an increase in these thefts and people need to be more alert. There were five catalytic converters stolen this past Tuesday, three in Shannon and two in Ennis”.
He explained to steal these parts, the thief crawls under the vehicle and simply cuts it out. It only takes approximately two minutes. Sergeant Downey said those who have fallen victim to this crime will know, as when they start their car the exhaust system will be must noisier.
“They cost €1,500 to replace and are generally stolen from high-sided vehicles such as trucks, SUVs, 4x4s, or any vehicle that’s easy to crawl under. We believe normally they are then sold on to scrap dealers because they contain some kind of valuable metal.”
While there is little the public can do if this occurs in a public place like a car park, there are some precautionary measures that can prevent or deter these thieves.
“When leaving the car overnight, leave it in a secure location or garage. If that’s not feasible, it might be an idea to have motion detector lights, so you know when someone is in your driveway. You could install a vehicle motion detector alarm, which goes off when your car is moved. You could weld extra metal, like hardened steel rods, which make it much more difficult to cut. You could etch a number onto it. While this won’t prevent it from being stolen, if it is stolen it can be easily identified afterwards,” he said.